Did someone say there’s a hospitalization crisis?
There is a crisis. People are getting stuck for days extra in hospitals and even dying because of nutrient deficiencies that we could easily solve.
A new study from Istanbul shows that even if we negligently fail to correct Vitamin D deficiencies before people get sick, we can still save half of the ones who might die with a cheap vitamin, pumped in hospital for about 1/5000th of the daily cost of an ICU bed.
The mortality rate in the unsupplemented group from 2020 was 11%, but in the supplemented group in 2021 it was 5.5%. Imagine what the mortality rate might be if these people weren’t deficient in the first place?
The study shows us that there is a causal connection between low Vitamin D and more severe Covid. It also shows what a train wreck our medical systems are. For the price of a few dollars we can free up a lot of hospital beds and stop a lot of deaths, and we’ve known this might be the case since the beginning, and we’re still not doing it? The incentives are so screwed in our healthcare systems that we’re waiting for doctors in Turkey to do the trials we should have done in February 2020?
Don’t wait til you catch Covid to get your D3 levels tested.
Sort it out now, and supplement if you need it. And aim for the higher end of the normal spectrum. (And take Vitamin K2 as well, though NOT without doc approval if you are on anticoagulants like warfarin, see comments below).
This new study enrolled 163 people admitted to hospital with Covid who had low to moderate Vitamin D levels (less than 30 ng/ml.) About two thirds of them were then given some whopper combinations of Vitamin D which started with 100,000 IU on Day One, and then continued for up to 7 days with lower doses that ranged from 2,000IU a day up to 100,000IU.
So all these patients were given supersized cumulative Vitamin D doses over the next week of between 224,000IU up to 500,000IU. Staff did blood tests on Day 7 and 14 to make sure they weren’t overdoing it. They compared the new supplemented patients with the survival rates of 867 people admitted to the hospital a year before, whose Vitamin D status was known and who didn’t have comorbidities. It’s not ideal that the earlier group probably were sick with a different variant — the original WuFlu. But random controlled trials seem so cruel when we already have a pretty good idea of what works.
Medico’s will find the study interesting because it assesses a lot of blood markers. Vitamin D levels were a better predictor of hospitalization than things like diabetes and high blood pressure.
We hear all about the “co-morbidity risks” in the media, but Vitamin D appears to be more important.
People who had no comorbidities, who should have been better off, were twice as likely to need a long hospital stay as people with comorbidities who also got Vitamin D treatment in hospital. That applies to people who had Vitamin D in the moderate category — lower than 30 ng/mL.
In our study, ICU referral did not significantly differ between COVID-19 cases without any comorbidities and COVID-19 cases with no other comorbidities but having serum 25OHD levels higher than 12 ng/mL. Besides, there was no significant difference between cases with serum 25OHD levels >12 ng/mL and those with 25OHD levels of <12 ng/mL in ICU stay. COVID-19 cases with no comorbidities, who had no vitamin D treatment, and whose serum 25OHD level was <30 ng/mL had the 1.9-fold increased risk of having hospitalization longer than 8 days compared with the COVID-19 cases with comorbidities, whose serum 25OHD level was <30 ng/mL, who had vitamin D treatment.
At this point, it is important to note that vitamin D treatment shortened hospital stay even for the COVID-19 cases in our treatment group that had comorbidities. Besides, having vitamin D treatment decreased the mortality rate 2.14 times, even in the presence of comorbidities.
Commentators may argue that Covid itself causes low Vitamin D (I asked the same thing myself last year). But this new study shows that the supplementation of D during the illness changed the outcome. It’s likely that people catching Covid who are already deficient are going to have more severe cases, more organ damage and it’s no wonder they struggle to recover for weeks.
A study done long after the active phase of the illness manages to blur the situation rather than
A recent study suggested impaired vitamin D metabolism and elevated PTH levels eight weeks after onset. The study indicated no association between low vitamin D levels and persistent symptom burden, lung function impairment, ongoing inflammation, or more severe CT abnormalities. They suggested that vitamin D deficiency is frequent among COVID-19 patients but not associated with disease outcomes. Cases with severe disease displayed a disturbed parathyroid–vitamin D axis within their recovery phase. . In a study by Mazziotti et al., it was shown that vitamin D deficiency with secondary hyperparathyroidism was associated with acute hypoxemic respiratory failure in COVID19 patients . In our study, PTH levels of COVID-19 cases who did not receive vitamin D supplementation were relatively high. Yet, this level came close to healthy individuals in COVID-19 cases on the 14th day of vitamin D supplementation.
For the record, in Turkey, in the background all patients got quite a few antivirals as well:
All patients received anti-virals (hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, oseltamivir, and favipiravir) and some received anti-cytokine (tocilizumab) treatment, in case of indication, according to current national guidelines.
As a curious aside for medico nerds– there are suggestions that people low in Vitamin D were also low in iron. Though cause and effect is complicated. Even many teenagers in ICU develop anemia in just a week. But low iron means low oxygen carrying capacity which is obviously a bad thing in Covid:
4.2. Vitamin D, Iron, and Hemoglobin
The relationship between iron and vitamin D has been evaluated in three studies [23,24,25,26]. Two studies found a significant positive correlation between serum iron and basal vitamin D concentration, hematocrit, and transferrin saturation [24,26]. In another study, low hemoglobin (Hb) and transferrin saturation was observed in babies with low 25(OH)D and low 24.25(OH)2D . On the other hand, anemia is quite common in critical illnesses. Approximately two-thirds of ICU adolescent patients develop anemia in the first week of admission and anemia at admission to ICU [37,38]. Anemia is associated with an increased low oxygen-carrying capacity and cardiovascular morbidity, potentially prolonging mechanical ventilation duration, thus increasing the total risk for mortality . A study of 475 patients hospitalized in intensive care units showed that, in patients with severe vitamin D deficiency (<12 ng/mL), an oral or nasogastric-mediated single dose of 540,000 IU vitamin D3 administration significantly decreased mortality compared with the placebo group. This effect was not observed in those with low vitamin D levels (20–13 ng/mL) . In another study, it was shown that in adults hospitalized in ICU, 100,000 IU daily for five days and a total of 500,000 IU vitamin D3 treatment increased hemoglobin concentrations over time and acutely decreased serum hepcidin concentrations. This effect was not observed in patients receiving 50,000 IU per day, totaling 250,000 IU .
Patients who got 500,000IU restored their hemoglobin levels, but those getting 240,000 did not.
Doctor Mercola writes this study up in The Epoch Times and suggests this program:
One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways of measuring your vitamin D level is to participate in GrassrootsHealth’s D*Action, which is a vitamin D intervention population program. The test is done in the convenience of your home and the results are sent directly to you.
Be aware there are two ways to measure Vitamin D levels and “ideal” or optimal levels of Vitamin D are quite a lot higher than the levels that prevent Ricketts.
Patients’ 25(OH)D levels were divided into four universally accepted categories: deficient (below 50 nmol/L or 20 ng/ml), insufficient (50 nmol/L to 75 nmol/L or 20 -29.9 ng/ml), adequate (75-99.75 nmol/L or 30-39.9 ng/ml), and high-normal (above 187.5 nmol/L or 40 ng/mL).
As I said in April 2020 — Vitamin D affects 200 genes and is implicated in many afflictions. Vitamin D levels also correlate with lower rates of cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, heart disease, dental caries, preeclampsia, autoimmune disease, depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders.
2021 Nov 12;13(11):4047. doi: 10.3390/nu13114047.et al (2021) Rapid and Effective Vitamin D Supplementation May Present Better Clinical Outcomes in COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) Patients by Altering Serum INOS1, IL1B, IFNg, Cathelicidin-LL37, and ICAM1, Nutrients,